All managers aim to reach a point in their squad where they have adequate cover in the majority of positions.
It’s the holy grail for every club and, given the frequency with which matches are played, it is the ultimate safety net.
But there’s always casualties.
The perfect example can be found with our left-back situation.
None can say that Oleksander Zinchenko hasn’t made a huge impact since his arrival from rivals Manchester City.
The Ukrainian has knitted together our midfield and defence, as well as providing a valuable outlet further upfield.
His will to win, his experience of success and his mentality is also a big factor in why Arteta and Edu signed him.
Zinchenko has also kept out Kieran Tierney from the side.
Something that two seasons ago we would have thought was impossible.
The Scot has barely put a foot wrong in his time at our club. He has played across the defensive line at times, he has stood up when we needed him to and can count himself very unlucky that he has ridden the bench so often this campaign.
But acquiring true depth in the squad is never without these awkward moments. Tierney would walk into most sides when fit – but he will be considering his options right now should this continue.
Remember at one point we wanted Tierney to be skipper?
Don’t be surprised this summer when our Scottish left-back walks away from the club.
At 25, Tierney will be looking to make an indelible mark on the game.
He knows he can’t do it from the bench and he also knows that Zinchenko plays in a different manner to him, a way that lends itself in a better way to Arteta’s style than his own.
Tierney is an orthodox full-back, with his speed and raging forays into the final third proving a real boon – but Zinchenko’s ability to steel the midfield by seamlessly slotting in when necessary gives Xhaka and Partey more license to bombard opponents.
Something Tierney doesn’t have.
If we could keep both, we would jump at the chance – but then you have Nuno Tavares to add into the mix.
The Portuguese left-back is having a stormer on loan at Marseille. Chipping in with goals and assists aplenty, Tavares will be looking to come back into the fold and have ample opportunity to play.
Something’s got to give.
Granted, Tavares needed the loan to take the greenness away from his game, something that was abundantly evident in his first season in the red and white. His positioning was errant, his discipline in holding the line was at times atrocious.
But attacking wise? We saw even then that he could make a huge impact.
Now he is playing, week in and week out in France. And it is this experience which is honing his game and helping him find the defensive nous we always needed from him.
So, Tavares, Tierney and Zinchenko at left-back are next seasons choices for Edu.
Perhaps one could move further up field and provide excellent cover?
Either way, it’ll be extremely difficult to keep all three happy.
One will leave – who would you choose?